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Apocalyptic Narratives

Basic to apocalyptic literature is the linkage between a moral vision of the universe and the fate of the earthly order, a cosmic vision usually expressed in terms of judgment. Though commonly presented in threatening images of Doomsday, it can also stress themes of pervasive divine justice, which places all human transactions into a universal context.
When Apr 23, 2007
from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Where Memorial Lounge, Pasquirella Spiritual Center
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Apocalyptic Narratives

All the major religions offer narratives of apocalypse and cataclysm, of the end of the present world order, generally as a prelude to some new state of things, and this approach is especially evident in the Abrahamic faiths, of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. At their most simplistic, apocalyptic narratives can offer sweeping condemnations of the existing world order, and potent stories of secular doom and final cosmic rescue. But apocalyptic is much more than this. Familiarity with the great religious traditions enhances our awareness of the transience of society and the world itself and can offer special insights for religious believers when addressing such momentous global issues as climate change.

Basic to apocalyptic literature is the linkage between a moral vision of the universe and the fate of the earthly order, a cosmic vision usually expressed in terms of judgment. Though commonly presented in threatening images of Doomsday, it can also stress themes of pervasive divine justice, which places all human transactions into a universal context. Apocalyptic literature teaches, above all, the ultimate triumph of the divine order and can offer a sense of optimism in viewing worldly threats and problems. Religious assumptions can also cause us to frame current debates in a dire, eschatological way, possibly constraining our options and possible solutions.

Rev. Paul Grabill, Pastor of the State College Assembly of God

Fr. Boniface Hicks, Penn State Catholic Campus Ministry

Rabbi David Ostrich, Congregation Brit Shalom

J. Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies and History, moderator